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Re: Standard implementation of constant, copyright or not ?


On Thu, 2013-07-11 at 21:08 +0200, Bastien ROUCARIES wrote:
> Hi,
> I plan to package adms on the behalf of debian science in order to package qucs.
> I have a legal problem:
> Some file are :
>   Copyright <A9> 2007Accellera Organization, Inc.
>   Standard definitions
>   This file contains the standard definition package constants.vams
> for Verilog-AMS HDL.
> Extracted from standard book
> http://www.eda.org/verilog-ams/htmlpages/tc-docs/lrm/2.0/stddef.html
> The file is here:
> https://github.com/upverter/ADMS/blob/master/admsXml/constants.vams
> I do not believe it is copyrightable.

Who has the copyright doesn't really matter.  What matters is what
permissions the license gives you.  From 

it seems that the code is under the LGPL-2.1 - which means you can
redistribute it.  You are, however, not allowed to remove the

Perhaps you can compare the situation to C.  While the standard pretty
much gives you all of the code you need to write to make various
headers, it does not mean that the FSF cannot copyright their version of
stdio.h (see /usr/include/stdio.h).  What you do perhaps need to check,
is that the license given in the above quoted URI covers the file in

> What is the legal status? How can I document on debian/copyright ? 

If all files are covered by the same copyright, then you only need to
specify that in the debian/copyright.  If some individual files (or
perhaps groups that can be captured by a glob pattern) have _different_
copyright notices (not licenses necessarily) then that must be listed in
debian/copyright.  An example of such a situation can be seen in 

Note, this means you have to read _every_ file you intent to
redistribute as source or otherwise and make sure that the proper
copyright notices are reproduced in debian/copyright - a tedious job,
but it has to be done.  Note, even if a file does not carry a copyright
notice it is _still_ the copyright of the author.  But again - it's
really the license that matters.  Perhaps you want to contact upstream
and hear what they have to say - does the LGPL-2.1 apply to all files?
What kind of copyright notice applies to files that does not carry one
explicitly? and so on.

> Do
> I need to do a clean room implementation ?

Kinda hard to do a clean-room implementation when the standard tells you
what it should be :-)

Hope this helps. 


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